Temple Grandin

A famous farm-animal specialist and autism advocate will visit UF today.

Temple Grandin will tour UF’s beef and dairy teaching units, meet with UF veterinary students and speak at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at 7 p.m. Admission is free for students and community members.

Former UF faculty member Dr. Dan Hawkins invited Grandin to come to UF after watching the HBO movie "Temple Grandin," which shows her interest in animals and her life as a person with autism.

"I saw the movie about her life two to three years ago, and I thought, ‘I really want to meet her,’" Hawkins said.

The equine surgeon said he contacted colleagues at Colorado State University, where Grandin lectures, to try and get her to come to UF.

Grandin was completely booked through 2015 and most of 2016, he said, but she had a last-minute cancellation.

Hawkins said he’s looking forward to seeing Grandin speak with students and faculty.

Bringing Grandin to UF cost $4,000, wrote Sarah Carey, director of public relations for the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, in an email. The cost was split between the college and the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Michael Lattanzi, 21, said he’s going to the event. He is the IMPACT Autism at UF president, and his work within the organization sparked his interest in Grandin.

"It’s important that her message is told to people of all ages, all generations," the UF neurobiological sciences senior said.

Contact Caitlin Ostroff at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @ceostroff